Species-rich but defaunated: the case of medium and large-bodied mammals in a sustainable use protected area in the Amazon

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Abstract

Neotropical medium and large-bodied mammals are key elements in forest ecosystems, and protected areas are essential for their conservation. In Brazil, sustainable use protected areas (SU-PAs) allow both the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources, especially in the Amazon region. However, SU-PAs usually suffer both internal and external pressures, and may be subject to variable degrees of defaunation. We sampled mammals using camera traps in two areas with different forest management and human occupation history in the Tapajós National Forest (TNF), in the western Amazon. Overall, we recorded a rich assemblage of medium and large-sized mammals, though both areas differed in species composition. The area with older and more intense human occupation and forest exploitation had more independent records of generalist species, while large species such as Tapirus terrestris and Panthera onca were recorded exclusively in the area with lower human occupation and no forest management. A comparison of our results with similar studies in other Amazonian sites suggests a reduction in the population size of large-bodied mammals, such as Tapirus terrestris and Tayassu pecari, likely in response to increased human activities. Local differences in human occupation within and between protected areas are common in the Amazon, demanding area-specific actions from public authorities to minimize impacts on wildlife caused by human activities. Specifically in TNF, we recommend long-term monitoring of the responses of mammals to human activities, to better subsidize conservation and management actions.

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Rosa, D. C. P., Brocardo, C. R., Rosa, C., Castro, A. B., Norris, D., & Fadini, R. (2021). Species-rich but defaunated: the case of medium and large-bodied mammals in a sustainable use protected area in the Amazon. Acta Amazonica, 51(4), 323–333. https://doi.org/10.1590/1809-4392202101481

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